Chill on the Hill 2014 Part V: Brick + Mortar, USS, Taking Back Sunday, and Silverstein

Brick + Mortar was another band that I went into without knowing anything about. I knew it was going to be a good set when shortly after they started, Brandon Asraf asked the hungover crowd “All the people sitting down, why the fuck are you sitting down?” It was a nice, warm day and the summer vibes that Brick + Mortar were throwing out were great, not to mention that they have a lot of stage presence for a two piece. Perhaps it helped that they asked the small crowd to make it feel like they were playing for a hundred thousand people rather than just a few and the crowd was too happy to oblige forgetting their hangovers and exhaustion and dancing for basically the rest of the their set.

While Brick + Mortar’s sound is bright and bubbly, the subject matter for a lot of their songs is a bit more serious. Asraf was particularly happy with the crowd’s reaction to “Old Boy” which he wrote as a letter to his father who he isn’t certain he will ever see again while “Brighter Than The Sun” was about big corporations taking away human rights. By the time they got to “Terrible Things” there was a large number of people on the lawn congregating and dancing much to the amusement of Asraf. Brick + Mortar put on one of my favorite performances of the event and I hope they come back to Detroit soon.

There was a big crowd amassed in front of the small stage waiting for USS (Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker) to take the stage when we made our way back over there. “Open your eyes please, turn your smile on,” they asked the crowd before launching into a non-stop half hour set. It was probably the biggest crowd that the small stage had seen up until that point and it was a never-ending moving wave of people that didn’t stop until USS did. Of course the songs that got the biggest reactions were the two singles, “This Is The Best” and “Yin Yang” which threw the crowd into overdrive as they moshed and crowd surfed their hearts out. I may not be a fan of USS’s music but I can’t deny that they know how to put on a show.

Finally the big moment of my day had arrived. I left the small stage a bit early to ensure that I wouldn’t miss a second of Taking Back Sunday’s set. They’re one of my favorite bands and it’s been 10 years since I’ve gotten out to a live show so TBS was really the reason that Chill on the Hill caught my interest in the first place. The first time I saw TBS is still one of my favorite concert experiences and their albums are very special to me so to finally get to see them again was very exciting.

The guys entered the stage as the “Preface” from their new album, Happiness Is, played over the speakers. The crowd, including myself, went crazy as the guys jumped right into the classic “Cute Without The ‘E’ (Cut From The Team)”. For me, Taking Back Sunday is an important part of my life because there are so many of their songs that are attached to important moments and memories in my life and hearing my those along with my other favorites performed live makes the experience so much better than it already was. While I would have loved to see Taking Back Sunday headline the event, I’m happy with the short set I got and can’t wait for the guys to hit Michigan again.

While I spent a lot of my high school and early college years listening to Silverstein, it had been a while since I had checked the band out so I was interested to finally get to see their live show. There was another large crowd gathered around the small stage when we arrived back there for the last time at Chill on the Hill. Silverstein made their entrance to a raucous round of applause and screams as they kicked off their set with “Stand Amid The Roar”. The area just in front of the stage became a sea of jumping people moving as if they were waves crashing into the stage. The feeling was definitely infectious and I soon found myself caught up in the energy of the fans around me.

Like Taking Back Sunday, Silverstein made sure to play songs from across their impressive discography, dedicating “Smashed Into Pieces” to all the old fans. Hearing that song immediately put me back to the time when I used to listen to them regularly which was great. And no matter how much the crowd gave, it wasn’t enough for Shane Told who just kept demanding more. As a reward, he told us (even though he said he wasn’t supposed to) that there would be new music out in the spring and the guys would be hitting the mitten again in January. Perhaps it was the promise of new music or another tour stop, but the fans went nuts for the last songs in the set.

This set of bands were a great way to prepare for the last three acts of the night and the end of Chill on the Hill.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of our Chill on the Hill reviews:
Part I: Bristol Street, Sleeper Agent, and My Goodness
Part II: Portugal. The Man, Sycamour, Grouplove, and The Bots
Part III: Bad Religion, A Day To Remember, and The Offspring
Part IV: Hollow & Akimbo, Kyng, The Orwells, and Skaters
Part VI: Chevelle, Awolnation, and Rise Against